Stevia: Does it have any side effects?

Stevia: Does it have any side effects?

Stevia is a non-nutritive or zero-calorie sweetener prepared from steviol glycosides. These are compounds removed and refined from the leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana.

A lot of people choose to substitute sugar with Stevia to decrease their calorie consumption. In this article, we look at the probable risks and side effects linked with this natural sweetener.

What is stevia?

Stevia leaves are approximately 200 times sweeter than the traditional white sugar and people have used them for centuries as a sweetener and herbal supplement.

Though, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only consider high-purity steviol glycosides to be secure for human consumption at present.

Because the FDA haven’t approved crude stevia extracts and stevia leaves as a food additive, companies aren’t permitted to market them as sweetening products.

Possible health risks and side effects

According to the FDA, the adequate daily intake for stevia glycosides is 4 milligrams (mg) per kilogram of body weight.

When being used as a sweetener or to flavor foods, experts don’t consider highly purified stevia to cause unfavorable side effects.

While several studies have recognized potential side effects of stevia, most were done using laboratory animals, and numerous have since been disproved.

Possible side effects linked to stevia consumption include:

Kidney damage

Stevia is considered a diuretic, meaning that it raises the speed at which the body drives out water and electrolytes from the body in urine. Since the kidney is accountable for filtering and creating urine, researchers primarily considered that long-term consumption of stevia could damage the organ.

Stevia: Does it have any side effects?

Stevia: Does it have any side effects?

Gastrointestinal symptoms

Some stevia products have added sugar alcohols that may cause disagreeable symptoms in individuals that are very sensitive to the chemicals.

Even though hypersensitivity to sugar alcohol is rare, its symptoms can include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • indigestion
  • cramping
  • bloating

More than a few studies using rodent and human cell cultures have established the potential gastrointestinal benefits of steviol glycosides. Stevia use has been exposed to help limit and reduce diarrhea and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Allergic reaction

According to a 2015 review, there are very few reported cases of stevia allergy. Both the FDA and European Commission concluded that the number of individuals who are hypersensitive to stevia or at a risk of having an allergic response to it is low.

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar

Even though stevia may assist control blood sugar in people with diabetes, it was as well once thought that long-term or heavy stevia consumption might cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

This has since been proven extremely unlikely, except in individuals with unusually low blood sugar levels.

Low blood pressure

Stevia is known to operate as a vasodilator, causing the blood vessels to extend and lowering overall blood pressure. At present, researchers have only investigated the potentially positive aspects of this use.

Anything that vigorously lowers blood pressure can cause health complications with extreme, long-term use. People with chronic low blood pressure ought to speak to a doctor about prolonged stevia use.

Endocrine disruption

As a type of steroid, steviol glycosides can obstruct with hormones controlled by the endocrine system. A 2016 study discovered that human sperm cells exposed to steviol experienced an increase in progesterone production.

Who should not use stevia

Stevia: Does it have any side effects?

Stevia: Does it have any side effects?


A number of people are at an enlarged risk of developing side effects from regular stevia use. This is since stevia can lower blood sugars and blood pressure, and act as a diuretic.

Stevia can, in addition, interact with certain medications, so it is significant to discuss stevia with a doctor before consuming or purchasing the product.

Factors that might enlarge the risk of stevia side effects include:

  • blood pressure conditions and medications
  • kidney conditions and medications
  • liver conditions and medications
  • hormone regulating medications
  • cancer medications
  • heart conditions and medications
  • steroids

Unsafe forms of stevia

There are a lot of different types of steviol glycoside established in stevia, classified into five major groups.

Even though most of the obtainable research concerns the two major compounds in stevia — stevioside and rebaudioside A (Reb A) — a 2016 study using human fecal samples completed that all forms of the compound are almost certainly safe for general use.

Nevertheless, research supporting the safe use of less refined stevia compounds is still missing. As a consequence, the FDA don’t recognize stevia leaves and crude extracts as safe for consumption.


Common potentially harmful chemicals found in stevia products include:

  • maltodextrin
  • sodium saccharin
  • sodium cyclamate
  • aspartame


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